Aztecs Mountain West SDSU
Ahead of Saturday’s New Mexico Bowl, left to right, Kyahva Tezino, Parker Houston and head coach Rocky Long meet with reporters. Photo credit:

San Diego State (9-3) takes on Central Michigan (8-5) at 11 a.m. Saturday in the 2019 New Mexico Bowl, in a game airing on ESPN.

The Aztecs, favored to edge the Chippewas, arrived in Albuquerque Wednesday and practiced in near-freezing temperatures.  The cold didn’t dampen their spirits during 65-minute practice though. Teammates individually hoisted San Diego State’s 15 departing seniors to honor them as they left the field.

Quarterback Ryan Agnew called the session fun, yet sad.

“It was (memorable),” the senior said. “It was all those emotions remembering when I walked out there and I was like, ‘Dang, I’m playing Division I football. I’m really happy to be out here.’

And now walking off my last practice and saying, ‘I got to play Division I football.’ I’m very thankful, very fortunate and I’m always going to remember this.”

“It’s so real,” senior defensive end Miles Cheatum said. “They always say it’s over before you know it and you never really grasp that concept until it’s over before you know it.”

He added, “I’m definitely grateful.”

Following practice, Aztecs Kyree Woods, Mark Salazar and Nash Devan visited Isleta Elementary School. They signed autographs and participated in a question-and-answer session at a school assembly.

Woods, Salazar and Devan then went to UNM Child’s Life Center inside UNM Children’s Hospital. They gave the patients gifts of bears and other goodies.

Later in the evening, San Diego State attended a team dinner for both squads at Albuquerque Convention Center. The event featured barbecue and a friendly game of Survey Says between SDSU and CMU.

SDSU then attended a kickoff luncheon Friday at Isleta Resort & Casino. Aztec coach Rocky Long and CMU head coach Jim McElwain spoke, along with keynote speaker, former NFL player Merril Hoge.

In addition, San Diego State attended a pep rally and battle of the bands event in the evening.

– Staff reports